Freelancing is becoming all the rage these days so I wanted to put together how I’ve managed to become a freelance business analyst and Salesforce consultant over the past 2 years. Freelancing gives you the opportunity to take on work that excites you, manage your time and location flexibly, and work as little or hard as you want at any given time. However, because you are not a full-time employee, you negate the benefits of paid time off, and health and wellness benefits, and general work stability. There are pros and cons to this type of work style, but for me, in my stage of life, freelancing has allowed me to work flexibly from Lisbon and Mexico, and wherever else I want to go, and working flexibly is what I value the most right now.
In 2021, I started Amanda Perkins Consulting Inc where I focus on helping companies with business analysis work, project/program management, and Salesforce and related digital transformation consulting. I worked with different companies, in a variety of industries, and have really enjoyed the projects that I’ve got to work on.
If you are interested in the freelance work style as well, here are some tips I have to help you get started.
Step 1: Pick a skill and get really good at it
The work world is changing and from my perspective, strong skill sets are valued more than time at a company or a role. What I mean by that is if you can get really good at an in-demand skill, there will be work and you will have an easier time finding contracts.
I spent the last 8 years working full time at different companies, mostly in the Salesforce ecosystem, learning skills like technology sales, Salesforce technology consulting, business analysis, quality assurance, asynchronous team management, project management, and product management. Working full time in a team enviroment helped me learn these skills well, as I had managers and team members who mentored and taught me how to grow my skill sets. Without the time and experience working full time, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn at the same rate, however, there are some skills you can certainly learn online.
Depending on what you want to focus on, determine if it would make sense to take on a full-time role at a company you can learn and grow before jumping into freelancing. I did and I really enjoyed working at these companies and was an opportunity to grow my network.
Step 2: Build your network
I can not emphasize this enough, your network is so important to the quality and quantity of work that you’ll have access to as a freelancer. I built my network through the previous roles I held at various companies, going to technology events in my city like TechTo and WebSummit in Lisbon, and joining membership groups like EveWealth.
In today’s digital world, it’s more important to connect with people in real life to have conversations, learn from each other, and potentially work together in the future. Make the effort to connect with others authentically and always think about how you can give to them when asking for things in return.
Step 3: Find an anchor client
When you are first starting out, if you can find an anchor client, it will be easier for you to manage your time and money out of the gate. An anchor client is a larger client, who has enough work to take up a majority of your time, and you know has processes in place to pay you on time. When you start freelancing, it can be difficult when working with smaller clients who have less work or less sophisticated processes for payment, which can result in an unstable work cadence. If you can, focus your efforts on finding an anchor client first, and then work on finding smaller work clients on the side of the anchor.
Step 4: Ask for referrals
This is intertwined to step 2 of building your network. Asking for referrals is an important step to finding more work. When connecting with your network, start to ask about the need for your services and see if they have anyone that might be interested. You will need to have the confidence to ask for the work that you want and if the person you are asking isn’t a good fit, they may know someone who is. Keep talking to your network, and keep asking for referrals.
Freelancing is an exciting way to work as it provides flexibility in the amount of time and location that you work in a given week or month. I have really enjoyed starting AP Consulting Inc. and working with my clients to help them solve their problems and add value. I hope that the tips above can help you if you are interested in becoming a freelance worker as well.